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Gender Perspectives in the Contemporary European and Spanish Literature Business, Management & Finance Program Spring 2025 Semester - Madrid

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Gender Perspectives in the Contemporary European and Spanish Literature

Gender Perspectives in the Contemporary European and Spanish Literature Course Overview

OVERVIEW

CEA CAPA Partner Institution: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Location: Madrid, Spain
Primary Subject Area: Spanish Language & Literature
Instruction in: English
Course Code: 781
Transcript Source: Partner Institution
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 42
Prerequisites: Since the course is offered in English, proficiency in English is required. A basic competence in the humanities is recommended.

DESCRIPTION

The course invites the students to think, after Slavoj Zizek, that 'another world is possible', and it is with this assumption that the course will critically examine the category of gender and its application to literary critique. The examples of literary production will be drawn from European literature, including authors of British, German, Polish, Romanian, and Ukrainian descent, with special emphasis placed on a new generation of Spanish artists (playwrights). Because of the short nature of the course, it is not meant to serve as a panorama of literature in Europe, but rather, as a representative sample of the literary production that displays an interest and concern with gendered perspective, in various parts of the continent. In the case of Spanish texts, where a translation into English is not yet available (Blasco, Liddell), students will be provided with translated fragments to allow them access to the meanings the texts might generate.
The first thematic axis is centered round Gender and the representations of the Body and Sexuality. The analysis offered focuses on Oksana Zabuzhko¿s Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex and Lola Blasco¿s Siglo Mio Bestia Mia. The discussion will include a revision of the importance of various narratorial points of view and the focalization, as well as the polyphonic aspect of the narrative and inclusion of different voices. The students will be encouraged to consider such topics as the role of popular culture in creating the notions of beauty, desirability, romance; gender and imperialism, colonialism, and racism; gender and language; Écriture feminine; mimesis, masquerade, playfulness and disguise; gender and performativity, and various categories of identity.
The second thematic axis concerns Gender and Ageism, Disability Discrimination and Speciesism. The analysis offered focuses on Olga Tokarczuk¿s Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead and Sarah Kane¿s 4.48 Psychosis. The students will be invited to discuss such topics as the aging and ailing body in the context of Disability Studies; representations of age and femininity in literature; gender and other markers of identification: class, nationality, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity; ageism, speciesism and other ¿isms; gender and body, age, and illness; compulsory heterosexuality, queer challenge to essentialism.
The third thematic axis revolves around Gender and the Personal / Political. The analysis of textual examples focuses on Angelica Liddell¿s La casa de la fuerza and Herta Müller¿s The Appointment. It focuses on challenging the distinctions between the political and the private, offering instead an understanding of these as interrelated categories. The students will be asked to consider such topics as the banality of evil; dystopian and utopian visions of gendered identity; marginality, terror and melancholy; gendered subject construction, voice, and desire in psychoanalytical terms; backlash and postfeminism and the sexist discourse; the cyborg, cyberfeminism and the postmodern digital revolution.
The distinctions between these thematic axes remain rather fluid, and the readings within one category should be treated as enhancing the critical approach to the other categories. Interconnections and dependencies between various theoretical angles will be explored, taking into consideration such perspectives as those offered by Postcolonial Studies, Ecocriticism, Feminisms, and Queer Studies. Whenever possible, the discussion of the literary sources and critical materials will be complemented with the use of visual examples, reaching to such artists as Marina Abramovic, Louise Bourgeois, the Madrid duo Cabello/Carceller, Tracy Emin, Andrea Fraser, Anna Jonsson (Seville), Sarah Lucas.
The discussion of the literary examples of both novels and dramatic literature will be preceded by a theoretical introduction, whose aim is to provide the students with critical tools and language to enter the current debate on gender in literature.

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